LCH reliance; One nation, one award; Rising tap water access

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Opinion Watch

LCH reliance

Light Combat Helicopters inducted in Dhanush of the Indian Air Force at Jodhpur marks a long-awaited conclusion of the Indian efforts to gain self-reliance in the critical defence requirements.

Two of the LCHs were flight-tested in Eastern Ladakh in 2020 when People’s Liberation Army of China camped to change the status quo of the line of actual control.

In 1999, the government had first thought of an indigenous LCH, which has been named Prachand by Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh. He has another reason to be happy since Singh is the only minister in the Union Cabinet who worked closely with late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who thought of gaining self-reliance in the military hardware.

The Times of India in its Editorial has noted 45 per cent indigenous contents in Prachand, scalable to 55 per cent, engine co-developed with French partner Safran, 20,000 altitude capability, and a clear line that vintage Chetak and Cheetah could be replaced in the near future.

The daily also mentions the failure of Kaveri engine project to highlight the challenges ahead, as India seeks to cut down on dependence on Russia.

It must be noted that only France besides Russia has been willing so far to share technology with India in the defence hardware manufacturing. The US remains technology stingy, while India is broadening the technology import basket, and New Delhi may work to further deepen collaborations with Japan and France to out rightly procure the best of engine technology, for the country cannot wait for another two decades in execution of a project when Himalaya is fast becoming a heated zone with China-Pakistan harbouring nefarious designs against India.

One nation, one award

Padma Awards are stated to have been democratized by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre to end an age-old practice of elitist recommendations used for gaining such honours. But there appears a disturbing trend.

The Bengaluru-based Deccan Herald has claimed that the Modi government is moving towards ‘one nation, one award’, for the move is afoot to do away with 200 awards currently given by several ministries along with fellowships, which would be replaced by a few awards at the national level.

“It has also been reported that the government wants to institute a high profile ‘Vigyan Ratna’ award on the lines of the Nobel Prize. It has asked the Department of Space, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Department of Atomic Energy to scrap all existing awards and institute new ‘high status’ awards. The prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize given to young scientists has not been awarded this year,” the daily stated.

Deccan Heralds laments that five or six awards when there are million of students would be a gross injustice.

Indeed, the daily is right as India aspires to become a knowledge-based economy, which could only bank on innovations and that would need encouragement that the awards provide. Let there be many stars, as they will certainly not dim the greatness of a few big awards on the lines of Nobel Prize. Modi would do a great justice to track down the originator of killing the existing awards for a few, as the authorship of this thought process could only be of a Babu sitting behind a desk.

Rising tap water access

People in Gujarat still hail Modi for his works done in making available water to parched areas.

Modi thought of replicating his Gujarat works at the national level with the Jal Jeevan Mission, which now provides 10.2 crore rural households (53 per cent) with tap water access, a gain of 37 per cent since 2019, while aim is to ensure at least 55 litres per person per day of potable water to every rural household.

The Chennai-headquartered The Hindu has also highlighted that there is regional disparity in the implementation of the scheme, with states such Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh doing much better while there remains too many laggards.

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